Wednesday, December 3, 2008

2008 Grand Finale

2008 has been an amazing year for me for many reasons. The wedding took the cake by far, but the racing was close behind in second. This year the light switches kept turning on, opening my eyes to the next level of racing. I learned strategy.... I found away to ride into the hurt, rather than away from it.... and I learned how to keep my head in the game regardless of the circumstances. Jingle Cross in Iowa City was the perfect crescendo to this year's anthem.

Rock 1 was cold, but relatively dry and easy to maneuver. My start wasn't as great as my husband's signature move, but my front-line start position served me well by keeping me in the top ten from the start. We wove through the twists and turns and found ourselves at the first double-barrier. I was in 4th but made a quick move into 3rd, dodging the junior riders as I sprinted after my rabbit, the ever-strong Kris Brazil. I was hot on her heals up the notorious Mount Krumpet on the first lap, but sadly watched her and the 1st place Iowa native ride away from me effortlessly as they bombed the following downhill. (With a slight flare up in the vertebrae in my neck, my hand control was hindered and so was my invincibility, so I took it smart and controlled)

Somewhere in the next lap, my teammate, Amy, came around me and I cheered for her to chase the women I couldn't catch. I managed to hold that position, finishing in 4th behind Amy, with our other teammate, Dana, close behind in 6th. It was an awesome day for the hellions....3 top 10 finishes! It was killa!

Jay, sadly, wasn't feelin it as much so his race was tough. He still finished top 15, though, so I was super proud of his racing. Like always, we kicked it on top of Mt. Krumpet for the afternoon, swilling barley sodas w/ the locals as we heckled and cheered the racers.

Rock 2 was another story.... after the previous day's 7 hours of racing, the ruts had made their mark. Top that off with an all-night snow and temps that hovered right around freezing, the day's races were going to be epic.... no matter how hard I try to stray from the over-used phrase.

Dana, Amy, and I were to be the first racers of the day. We arrived early, Jay laying down the first tracks in the snow as I layered up and let my mind go blank. Once on my bike, I was in the zone.... it was the same place I was in before the state championship this year... There were no thoughts. The only sound outside my body was my bike and my quiet breaths. Inside, quiet echoes of songs in my Ipod rattled inside my head, creating a soundtrack to the elements of the course. I was sliding out like crazy at half speed and knew I was in for a major challenge - this was going to be the most inclement race to date for me, and the calm atmosphere within me let me know I was ready.

After a few warm-up laps, I toed the line as the snow dampened my glasses. Aside from anything I could have imagined, I captured the hole shot instantly and lead out through the first twists and turns. The previous day's winner passed me on a slippery left hand curve as my rear wheel slid out. I could hear Dana repeating "you're alright"... my bike steadied itself instantly. Dana, the most awesome mtn biker, came around me and I tried to stick with her over the double barrier. At the run up, I passed her as some issue stopped her at the top and took my place in second. We rode down a slippery off-camber down hill as the falling snow melted on the now exposed mud and ruts. With my hands wrapped tightly around my drops (and far from my breaks) I bombed the short drop to try and catch the leader some 20 yds in front of me. We were on a long straight away I'd ridden 3 times earlier and knew my line. I punched it into one of my hardest gears in an attempt to get on her wheel before the next twists and turns came.
Somewhere beneath the freshly fallen snow, a sideways rut was hiding. I hit it with my front wheel at full speed, twisting it instantly, and throwing me over the bars violently. As I went head first into the snowy ditch, the right side of my rib cage caught my right break lever and bent it almost 45 degrees. Disoriented, I tried to figure out what was going on. I heard Dana scream to find out if I was okay... I reassured her as best I could and urged her to chase down the leader. I forced myself up and checked to see if I could feel any broken bones. Two more riders passed. Although my side hurt, a couple deep breaths didn't seem to aggravate the matter, so I began to run and remount my steed.

I entered the Whoville Whirl as Jay was nearby in the pit, encouraging me to stop so he could fix my crooked lever. The shifting still worked (considering the amount of snow gathered in my derailluer), so I refused..... I was now in 5th and had some time to make up. By the backside of the course, I caught the next rider and moved into 4th with an attack on the log double barrier. Though I rode away from her for a bit, she closed in fast at the coasting-pace, zig zag barn. I knew I had to make up time whenever possible and kept up the attacks to try to increase the gaps whenever possible. By the time we got to the Whirl again, I had a decent lead and had moved onto 3rd. By the time I got out of the Whirl, she was right there again.... I had to do something.

I felt nothing as I rode at my threshold. My bike swerved and complained as I pushed and fought against the snow and increasing mud. By the time I got back to the zig zag again, I came up with a new strategy.... I sure couldn't ride it fast, but I could run it....and so I did. And I solidified the gap I was working so hard on for the last couple miles.

I kept the pace, knowing I had one final lap to lay down everything I had remaining after a long '08. With my teammate Amy in second place in front of me, I tried to do nothing but to hold my position and protect hers. Jay was all over the course, cheering and encouraging me as I rode blind and beyond reason. All the elements that usually washed me clean of energy were a blur as I charged over, through, and past them. I took another digger or two on some slippery turns, but never hesitated to hurry back onto my saddle and answer with an attack on myself. The podium was right there in my sights and I couldn't let it get away today. I sprinted through the zig zag for the last time and never looked back. With every last bit of energy, I sprinted across the line and saluted my super supportive husband, Jay. Exhausted and ecstatic, I chatted w/a few of the women after the race, commending them on their great racing, and sharing stories from the preceding moments. Like nothing I could have ever imagined, I sat in awe of my third place finish.

To follow up on my hard effort, Jay took his place on the start line and readied himself for his final race of the year. With his years of mountain biking experience under him, he handled the ever-dwindling conditions. He wove round the slick corners expertly and kept himself in good position in the single speed race. Even as they added the sloppy downhill to his course, he managed to keep his bike upright in the slop.After some major efforts and a ton of perseverance, Jay crossed the finish, taking third. I was so proud, and of course still am. What a way to finish the year!!!! [yes, we're calling it quits before Nationals....maybe next year]. Great job, babe! And a super huge Thanks to you for all your support and teaching this year. I couldn't imagine having such a year without you. Thanks hun - I love you tons!

Though part of me wishes this year still hadn't come to an end, I know it's for the best. The sooner I rest, the sooner I can begin training for the 2009 season. Yep, you heard it here first...next year, I train. I'm ready to work for an upgrade in '09. Look out world, Kristy Kreme has got the eye of the tiger, and I'm not afraid to unleash it.

Reveling in my R&R,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, November 17, 2008

Somebody pinch me

Two days after the State Cyclocross Championships and I still can't believe it all happened the way it did. Sitting with my hubby, recapping the races, I feel like an enthused teenager running my mouth at full speed....wow, what a day.

Not only was this year's course the coolest I've seen to date (only my third appearance, but darn awesome!), but it was as fast and furious as anticipated. Being a regular solo rider somewhere on the average course in a Cat 4 women's race, I was skeptical of course-designer, Hollywood's, idea of sprint finishes and fast races. Our races are usually so blown apart after the first lap, I expected nothing more than crossing the line solo somewhere in the pack.

Pulling up to the starting line, I was ecstatic to see some 20 women toe the line for a shot at the title. Excited as I was, I was right on top of it as the whistle blew, making my way into the lead with the Hollywood Hole-shot. Still a pup, I couldn't hold the tempo forever and slowed the pace before we hit the volleyball court. With an attack, and putting my weight on the rear wheel, I road the sandpit with a certain level of ease, but was sadly disappointed when 3 riders ran through the sand and passed me by. Having moved from 1st to 4th in a matter of feet, the chase began. Jeanette was gone (as always), and Emily M. wasn't far behind. Luckily Megan from Grumpy's was within my sights and set a great pace. I chased after my rabbit, salivating, only to catch her at the bottom of the stair case. Whether it was her intention or not, she blocked my attack on the stairs for 2/3rds of the way, until the trees backed off enough for me to come around on the side and get in front of her at the top. I held the leads until we hit the sand again, then watched her pass me by as I took a hand-up.

Again, I was in pursuit, but this time it didn't take so long to catch her. I made it a fast attack and tried to never look back. I knew she was right on me, so I rode through the pain and fatigue that churned my stomach and screamed for me to give up. Third place...third pace...just keep going.....

Into the third and final lap of the 2+ mile course, I found her....Emily...in yellow....in second place.....right there in front of me. I put the hammer down and dropped it another gear. This time through the sand I got stalled out at the end and thought the day was done, sadly admitting to Jay I was blown. But I made it over the barriers and was headed back around the pond. My kid bro was right in front of me, so I locked him in my sights and regulated my breathing. Though he offered to let me by, I rode his wheel into the headwind for some much needed respite before my final sprint up the stairs. (thanks Zach! You're the best!) I came around him and a corner, only to see my next rabbit just ahead. With everything I could muster, I attacked, closing the gap within seconds and catching her before the base of the stair.

Something about that final climb slowed me drastically, and she slipped ahead of me at the top. Feverishly, I mounted my steed, and drove that dérailleur as far as it could go as I sprinted down the fast descent, eyes bouncing inside my skull as I tried to focus on her yellow jersey. I closed the gap yet again, but was thrown off by the contents of my stomach as they forced their way through my clenched jaw. Luckily, my legs didn't notice the commotion and kept up the pace. With a lot of pavement ahead of me, and the acid burning my throat, I knew what I had to do. I dug deep into my road miles, tucked into a TT position, and used everything I had to keep the attack up for the last mile.

We came around the berm after the pit, and up the slow burner, where she started to gap me off. She was cruising down the middle of the path, with a left hand turn up ahead....so for one last time, I dropped the gear again and went for it. I sprinted past her to take the lead position into the turn, and riding at the threshold on the slippery crescent. We rounded the hockey rink and I knew she was still there - I couldn't hear anything except my warm up music in my head - no breathing, no pedaling, no screams or cheers. Around the final turn I was out of my saddle and cranking out every last ounce of energy I had. And I did it!

I beat her to the line!!! I crossed the line in 2nd place, immediately to find the waiting arms of my husband as I collapsed with fatigue and began dry heaving uncontrollably. I rushed to the men's room immediately so not to puke in front of everyone (the women's room had a line - go figure)....somehow the boys didn't get stage fright too bad as I sat on the floor w/ my back to the urinal, vomiting in the garbage can. What can I say? I rode out of my mind.Once recovered, I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day (and still am, may I say). Not only did I finish second, but it was against a great group of wonderful women! I somehow was able to hold off gals like Emily and Kris B. that have been miles ahead of me all year. I feel so honored to have had such a wonderful race, and such great people to race against all year....you have helped me so much! I've pushed so hard this year to get better thanks to gals like you. And especially thanks to my super duper husband extraordinare, Hwood, teaching me the skills to do it, and supporting me through each emotional high or low while I'm out there suffering...Thanks so much, Babe!

Of course, all the races were awesome, and the finishes exciting, but this one will stay in my memory forever. And, as always, there was tons of fun and folly happening on the stair case during the A race. Thanks to Hollywood, Bill O., Silver Cycling and Kenwood for putting on yet another Major Wood Rager! Can't wait to see how you up the ante next year! Great job everyone that raced or volunteered - we couldn't have had such a great time w/o ya!

Already looking forward to '09,
Kristy Kreme

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twilight is almost here!!!

Tick tock tick tock.....

Screw State CX Championships (my hubby's probably freakin' out right now), but the main event getting my heart racin' right now is the release of the Twilight movie next Friday, Nov. 21st!!!

No other book has ever captured my attention so dominantly, and I doubt any other ever will. If you haven't read it - do it! If you've been living in a cave or on a bike so much that you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about...check it out.....



Darn tootin' you can bet my new hubby's comin' with me to the flick on opening night! Get yer arse out there and see it!

Fanpire,
Kristy Kreme Cullen

Nesting

One month into wedlock and we're already nesting away. Right after the honeymoon, we threw away the old towels and linens and replaced 'em with the new and fresh linens we'd registered for. But the best of the best...we redid the kitchen.

Okay, so no new counter-tops or floors, but we painted the walls, replaced the towels, and hung shelves to make our mini-kitch more cook friendly.

Before:

Wait! Did you blink? You may have missed it. Look again. Yep, that's the mini-kitch. :O) And I love it. But, to pay homage to our love for bikes - especially Bianchi - we updated the kitch w/ a fresh coat of Celeste paint....

After:


See what fun a little IKEA and Home Depot can create?? Next up, bathroom!!!

Kristy Kreme

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Brett Favre, Eat My Shorts!

So, we all know Brett Favre is some super-star, playing through thick and thin, sick or well, and produced some amazing stats to carry him to all-star and Hall of Fame status. Well, like I said, he can eat my shorts.

Just recently, I finished my 100th bike race!!! Not only was it my 100th bike race in just over 2 years, in ALL categories (time trial, road, criterium, mountain, cyclocross, and ice racing....start munchin' BREEAAATTT!) Oh wait...there's more!!! It was 100 races entered, 100 races completed!!!
That's right - 100% completion ratio!!!

100 races of all types, in multiple states, in more than one country....and never giving up. No dropping out, no tucking my tail between my legs, no excuses. So I'm sure there are some pompous clowns out there saying to their computer monitors "Yeah, Cat 4 woman...that's not hard...that's no big deal"... well, I fart in their general direction!

My first race - Henderson Time Trial 2006. Breakfast: blueberry bagel and milk duds. Finish: 3rd from last overall. I was so immediately hooked, I started Cross racing on a mountain bike w/ platform pedals and tennis shoes.
My sixth race - Chilly Chili Ice Race 2007. Temps: 8 degress F!!!!! The coffee froze, it was my first mtn bike race....and I pulled off a sweet 2nd place thanks to some sweet homemade studded tires!

First TT Win - my second Black Dog, racing the Women's Stock category. Through some major dedication and improvements that summer, I pulled off the overall victory in the Women's Stock category.

Most EPIC Road Race: The Amateur Tour of Flanders in 2007 - out there by myself, engaged for all of 18 hours, I traveled non-stop along the Belgian country side over the 75K race/ride.

First Citizen Road Win - Spam Jam 2007!!! Took 1st in the Women's Overall and raised up my arms proud as I cross the line (just one week after I learned how to ride no handed).

Coldest Road Race - 2008 Ken Woods - battled snow, sleet, icy roads, 30 degree temps, and 30+mph wind gusts!!!

First Photo Finish - 2008 Dakota crit - took 2nd place in a sprint finish by 1/2 a wheel length.

First MCF TT & Road Race Wins - Tour of Granite City Stage Race 2008!!!! After a lightening fast TT for the win, I struggled in the crit (taking 6th). Luckily, I came back the next day with fire in my legs, taking the win over 8 women in the last 1k of the race!!! Jay was there to video tape the whole thing and celebrate with me.


Fastest I've Ever Gone: 40.2 MPH!!! This year at the Sprinter's Classic I won the field sprint to take 2nd place while going 40.2MPH!!!
First (& only) mountain bike victories: 2008 Laddies Loppet - on the first day, I won the Citizen Women's TT!!! Then I came back and won the Citizen Men's/Women's Criterium, and took the Citizen Women's Omnium win.

Toughest Triumph Over My Bike: 2008 Cheq Short Fat - 2.5 miles into the 16 mile mountain bike race, I got a rear flat on my single speed MUSS...and I rode it. Yep, I rode that flat tire w/o stopping for 14 miles!!! I never looked back or second guessed it.

Coolest Trophies -TTY 2007 cube------Spam Jam Trophy-----Single Speed Champ 2007 granite stone/cog trophy-----Rum River CX rail road spike (2nd place 2008)

100th Race: The Hudson CX race 2008 - got the Hollywood hole shot, and happily finished in 3rd place.
Best thing of all....I've loved every silly, fun, painful, and tough moment of it. And here we are, 102 races entered/completed and counting. What's next? 103, I guess.

Kristy Kreme

Hope you had a Surly Halloween

I know WE did! My new Hubby and I were kickin' it in style at the Surly Jones show/costume party in NordEast. Jay and I, dressed as our favorite Guitar Heroes, Slash and Casey Lynch, enjoyed a fab set list amongst some of the best costumes I've seen ever!!
Yes, that's my husband - not the real Slash.

Super rad Joker!

The ladies rocked the house!

A party's not complete until a Storm Trooper's on bass

Slash n' Eddie V? :O)

Thanks for the [bleep]'in time, Surly Jones!
Kristy Kreme

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wood Wedding Extravaganza!!!

Yep, Hwood and I finally tied the knot!

After a 1 1/2 year engagement, we finally did it....and I couldn't have imagined any wedding more perfect. Our beautiful October day was radiant, as the sunlight electrified the changing leaves on the trees at the Theodore Wirth chalet. Anything and everything fell in to place as planned (sans my matron of honor forgetting her dress at home....but her super spouse ran back home to get it while we got dolled up at the salon).

Hiding out in the back room of the upstairs Fireplace Room, us gals got ready and hung out as the boys decorated the ceremony and got their photos taken by none other than THE Kelly Mac and her rockstar sister, Kristie. Although the Fireplace Room was warm and welcoming on it's own, with it's walls of windows, hardwood floors, and dark wood beams on the ceiling, the guys, Megan and Cassi dialed it up to 11 by lining the isle with freshly fallen leaves, lit candles along the mantle, and decked out the program tables with glass beads. The moment I peaked through the back door, tears welled in my eyes...it was beautiful! Once I get the pics back, I'll be sure to update the blog.
Once the ceremony began, the excitement grew immensely. On cue, my father escorted me down the isle towards the most handsome of all men I've ever scene...my Jay. Though neither of us cried as we read the vows we wrote to each other, tears danced in our eyes and caused our throats to tighten around our most heart-felt words.

After we were pronounced husband and wife, Jay and I were serenaded as we walked down the isle arm in arm as his brother, John, and friend, Randy, played "It's a Long Way to the Top if You Want to Rock n Roll" by AC/DC on electric guitar and bagpipes. Yep, I said bagpipes. That, and Jay and I 'danced' along on our bicycle made for two...Since our ceremony was small, we carried the party over to the reception with a little panache...
Jay and I rode into our reception on the bike as his brother wailed on the bagpipe and Randy kicked it along with Slip Twister to our same AC/DC anthem! After a few loops on the dance floor (which I politely ended by grabbing the breaks before throwing up from getting too dizzy), Jay and I dismounted to find the whole room full of the people we love, on their feet, clapping to the music! It was the most inspiring moment and, had I known how spectacular that moment would have been, I would have insisted on having the video camera on hand to document what WE saw.... it was the most touching moment and I'll never forget it.

The food was amazing, the toasts brought tears to our eyes, and the first dance was all ours.... for a girl who never dreamed of how her wedding would be, I had everything I could have ever imagined. My amazingly handsome and wonderful husband was there by my side, our families were there to celebrate our love, our friends were there to celebrate and drink and ride the bike like maniacs (yes, we're taking donations to help cover bike-related damages at Earle Brown).

Me, Megan, and Cassi.......Together we DO rock!

Me and MommaMe and Daddy
Even Sheila couldn't resist the action!.....Terri, Jay, and Randy test ridin'
Dorothy and Jay share in the fun

Zeto and the not-so-typical Runaway Bride

So far, we've only got pics from my camera, my Aunt Sue's, and Leslie's ready to go.....but don't fret...you know the vid is coming soon!!!!

It feels like I've just won some type of Emmy with all the people I'd like to thank....but most of all, I thank our parents. For loving us, for supporting us, and for helping make this magical dream come true. We honestly could NOT have done this without you. Dad, Mom, Sheila, Randy, Dorothy and Bob - we love you with all of our hearts!!! Our friends and family that helped and enjoyed the fun....thank you thank you thank you!!!!

Until next time....Love life. Love your loved ones. Love every moment.
Let the wonder and love that surrounds you make you glow.

Kristy Kreme Henderson

The final countdown to wedlock....

Obviously, we've been pretty busy these past 2 weeks, so needless to say the wedding fun recap is a little late....

On the days before the wedding, we were playing in style! It started off with mani's and pedi's with the girls once Jay's bro and sister-in-law Abby arrived from New York. Abby and I headed north to meet up with my step-sis and step-mom for some pampering...
Then we had our fab rehearsal and rehearsal dinner with friends and family from all over the globe...well the US anyways.
At the rehearsal, D&B were like kids on our bike

And dinner was perfect! We got to celebrate the wedding to come with our friends and family. The food was delicious, and they even make a pineapple upside-down cake especially for Bob's 45th birthday!!! ;O)


Dorothy & Bob...........Lulu, Leslie, and Cassi

My mom & hubby........sista's from otha mothas? Elissa, Megan, and me

Thanks for such an amazing dinner, Dorothy and Bob! And thanks to everyone for coming out for it. It was the perfect dinner to kick off the wedded bliss!

Kristy Kreme

Pre-Wedding Rockin'

To kick off our wedding debauchery, what better event to attend than the Motley Tuesday reunion at the Spring Street in NE???
Even though I'm with Jay, I don't have the same skills with a mic, so I was there only to watch and have fun. And boy what fun we had!

The whole gang was there livin' it up in style

And of course, the ladies were kickin' it too!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Reflections

With just over a week to go until my much-aniticipated wedding day, I can't help but realize the fortune in my life. I sit here on a Friday night, watching old episodes of "My So Called Life" on the computer, reminiscing in days long passed. And one thing was so obvious in the classic reruns...

In our youth, we spend our time loving and pining after people who don't love us as deeply. We pour our heart and souls out in romantic guestures, waiting for someone to reflect the depth of love we feel (or at least think we feel).

And then something wonderful happens. After years and years of heartache and mistakes, we find that one soul on Earth that yearns for us as passionately as we yearn for them. We find in existance someone who amplifies our life to the world, and makes the sky multi-color. We find in some stranger, some day, the secrets to that which makes us whole.... And, if we're smart enough to act and wise enough to see the splendor in front of us, we find a way to make the magic real.

There's this time in life when all the kharma of breakups and bad relationships comes back to reward us with smiles that never seem to end and fairy tail endings... it brings us that "Hollywood" romance we'd been told was just a dream... But in my case, it was real beyond the wildest imagination.

To the moment I decided to by a bicycle, and to the man who fell as hard as I did..... Thanks. To remain childlike and never give up on fairy tales is a dream come true in itself.

Happily counting down the minutes,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, September 29, 2008

Girls Night Out

Saturday night was a rockin' good time w/ the girls, kickin' it in Uptown for my Bachelorette party. To kick off the festivities, we hit up Chiang Mai Thai for tasty grub and some uber yummy Mango Mohitos! It was an amazing time (a special Thanks to my Matron of Honor, Erin, for putting it all together!!!). There's nothing like dinning on great food at a table decorated w/ thong-filled martini glasses! hehehe It was so much fun. Even though everyone couldn't come out after dark for the debauchery, six of us ventured out to take it to the next level. Our once innocent Sex-n-the-City'esque feel of getting dolled up with fun clothes and great heels, took a turn to the dark side when the "girls night out" shot glasses, boas, and beads came onto the scene.
Decked out in a pink feather boa, a shot glass-laden veil, and LifeSavers t-shirt, we hit the Country Bar for more booze and some kareoke. Erin, Cassi, Jacki, Leslie, Amy and I hit the bar and the dares hard - trading beads for a Mardi Gras style show by the men in the bar, singin songs we were (or were not) embarrassed to sing....Amy even got Mr. GQ's number without even blushing.

After all the bars closed up, Leslie and I rounded out the night w/ 3:00AM pizza from Luce, and the "Sex & the City" movie til 5 in the morning. Still wired from the fantabulous night, I could barely sleep in my 21+ hours of being awake. I'll never forget it - and, thanks to Flickr, neither will the other girls! Check out the full side show HERE.

With the clock counting down faster than I ever thought was humanly possible, I am so exstatic. I can't wait to see it all come together in just 12 days! But, until then, I have to scream out a huge thank you to all the gals who came out and celebrated on Saturday night! My life wouldn't be the same without you. And to Erin, who put this all together seamlessly, THANK YOU SO MUCH. That was more than I ever dreamed!

Happily waiting for 'ever after',
Kristy Kreme

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A great story and new rear wheel

Yesterday was the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival in Cable, WI. This was my second time to tackle the Short&Fat (15.6 mile course) and Jay's 16th time with the full meal deal - 40 miles of pain! Come race time, I was thirsty for a top 3 finish in the women's single speed....last year I finished 4th...

After such a great time up at Maplelag, I was confident that my ride was going to go well. I got to the start almost hours early and got my bike lined up only 4 rows from the front! With a long downhill paved section to begin the race, I knew I had to start in front of as many people as possible to retain decent position when we hit the dirt.

When the race finally began, everything was falling into place. I clipped in to my pedals instantly. There were 3 crashes that went down in front of me during that first mile, but I was able to safely get away from all of them. By the time we hit the dirt, I was still sittin' far up in the pack and I felt great. I started trading the lead with another single speed gal for the first mile or so, then dropped her when we started climbing in the dirt. It was great - I was eating up riders climb after climb and I'd still not broken a sweat. Feeling awesome about 2 1/2 miles in, my bike, the always fun Baloney Pony, suddenly felt wrong. I took a quick glance at my rear wheel and instantly new - I had a flat.

Without hesitation, I continued to pedal. It was too early to quit. It would do me no good to stop. And I had no way to fix it. I was running my tires tubeless for less chance of a pinch flat and, well, cuz it's awesome! So there I am - 2.5 miles into the race with no tube, no pump, no patchkit or CO2 thingy....and especially no hex wrench to even get my rear wheel off in the first place. Oh, and did I mention I really don't know how to change a flat? Ooops. There's the only problem w/ marrying my favorite bike mechanic - this is my first Mtn bike flat (second EVER), and he's always changing out my tires for me since he does it hours faster than I do. That's gonna hafta change though, since I hear these things come in threes. knock on wood

So many riders went passed me calling out to let me know about my flat - as if the exhausting difficulty of riding a single speed w/ a rear flat and all that noise hadn't yet alerted me....or what about the ENTIRE field riding by me? I remained nice and just say 'yep, thanks, I know' time and time again. Then finally I just started letting those "oh, I see a blond girl with a flat, she must not know about it" kind-of-guys know that I let the air out myself cuz I didn't think single-speedin it was enough of a challenge.

So I kept going mile after slow mile. I actually was having fun! I knew this was not enough to make me quit my first race (in the last 2+ years, I've never dropped out of a race and my goal is to never quit unless something very serious prevents me from doing so). Also, I knew this was going to not only be a rad story to brag about to Jay, but a killer workout in the process.
After such a fun and adventurous spring and summer, I know that I've had a few too many of these: hanging out with hooligans like these and only 27 days left to go before I have to fit into something like this...

So, I rode my bike without stopping. It was so sweet to see how many people did offer help. Some offered to give me a tube, others asked if I needed a pump. One guy actually had all three that he offered to leave with me - but I told him it would be quite worthless since I didn't know how to fix it. I rode every downhill on the course, and tried to make it up every climb - which felt so AMAZING when I'd pass people riding up in their granny gear. It turned out to be pretty good CX practice too - I got to work on my run-up skills when I couldn't ride up a hill, which in turn led to remount practice! Like I said, my flat didn't bum me out at all.

At the last climb before we descended into the field for the finish, I jogged as much as I could. I go t back on my bike and gave it hell - determined, at this point, to go through the entire finishing section on my bike, and to ride across the finish line... It was awesome! I could hear the people as they caught sight of my flat and the cheers rose. I heard a few people even cheering my name - thanks a ton! That was so great. I crossed the line, kissed my ring, and got off my bike to catch my breath.

I was so proud of myself....and I don't think I'd ever be able to explain how amazing that small feat really was to me. And I'll definitely never forget it - 13 miles on my flat rear wheel, on a single speed in the Short&Fat..... and the killer thing is that I tried to avoid all the rocks, so my rim is in perfect condition, and my wheel is somehow still intact as well!!! Guess I did just need a little bit of a challenge after all. Thanks, Kharma, for whatever reason it was. ;O)

Sore and happy,
Kristy Kreme

Monday, September 8, 2008

Henderson Team Time Trial

This past Saturday, Jay and I saddled up for the Henderson Time Trial in Henderson, MN. Jay and I got out the matching black n white skin suits and took on one of our fave races. Mine, cuz it was the very first race I ever did, just weeks after buying my first bike since childhood....Jay's cuz it has all his favorite things: time trial bikes, nice roads, tractors, and ME! hehehe

This was our second year racing together as a team and we had a time to beat! Last year, we finished in 37:41, including a slight episode of me bouncing into a cornfield after high-siding off my bike at the turn around. Bloody and freaked out, I got back on my bike and we finished under our goal time - it was quite the adventure. This year, C-Ray and the Silver Fox bet us coffee that we couldn't beat em....Though they got us by a couple minutes, Jay and I still rode and AMAZING time trial. Averaging 24.4 mph over the 15 mile course, Jay and I came in with all skin intact in 36:58!!! I couldn't have gone any faster, so I was absolutely ecstatic.

The couple that TT's together, stays together

Countin down the days,
Kristy Kreme